Graham Barber is acclaimed worldwide for his intensely musical playing and complete technical mastery. He trained as a pianist at the University of East Anglia with Charles Spinks and David Parkhouse, and at the Royal Northern College of Music with Gordon Green and Clifton Helliwell. He was appointed the first organ scholar at Norwich Cathedral where his teacher was Brian Runnett. Later he studied with Nicolas Kynaston and Gillian Weir, and participated in classes with Lionel Rogg and Luigi Tagliavini. By the time he made the first of four solo appearances at the Royal Festival, London, he was already recognized for his highly-praised recordings on the Vista label.
Graham Barber has performed in major venues in Britain, Europe, the Far East, the States, and Australia. He has a wide range of repertoire and is equally at home on classical or romantic instruments. He has made numerous broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, repertoire ranging from the earliest known organ music, the Robertsbridge Codex, to the works of Bach’s favourite pupil, Johann Ludwig Krebs. Projects for the BBC have included a series of programmes made on early organs in Ostfriesland at Rysum, Uttum, Marienhafe and Norden. Graham Barber has also made a detailed study of nineteenth-century English music, with particular emphasis on the works of Henry Smart. He includes in his repertoire the major English works from the twentieth-century. Other specialist areas are the works of Sigfrid Karg-Elert and Max Reger.
Graham Barber has performed with most U.K. orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, the Hallé, the Royal Philharmonic, the Royal Liverpool, the BBC Symphony and the English Chamber Orchestra. He has played under the baton of many of the world’s leading conductors including Sir Edward Downes, Sir Charles Groves, Richard Hickox, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Georg Solti, Jan Pascal Tortelier and Sir David Willcocks.
Graham Barber is Professor of Performance Studies at the University of Leeds. He is President of the Karg-Elert Archive (www.karg-elert-archive.co.uk) and a Vice-president of the Percy Whitlock Trust (www.percywhitlock.org.uk). He is also a member of the Council of the Royal College of Organists and from 2006 – 2008 Graham Barber was Chair of the Trustees of the Royal College of Organists. He is Director of Music at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Armley, where he is curator of the famous Schulze organ of 1869 (www.armley-schulze.freeserve.co.uk).
Here’s what the press has to say about Graham Barber’s performances:
The Sunday Times: “a technically brilliant, musically mature organist” (First Recording)
The Guardian: “the maniacal solo, superbly played by Graham Barber” (Janacek: Glagolithic Mass, Leeds Town Hall)
South China Morning Post: “Barber demonstrated superb phrasing throughout” (Hong Kong Cultural Centre)
The Belfast Telegraph: “the recitalist’s way with Bach has a compulsive authority” (Ulster Hall)
Aachener Rundschau: “der Spieler trug die stilistische unterschiedlichen Stücke mit Formwissen und geschmeidiger Technik” (Annakirche, Aachen)